Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hume Lake 2010

(Hume Lake in the morning)
From July 18th-24th I had the privilege of leading a group of leaders and students to Hume Lake Christian Camp in California.  This was my sixth summer heading to Hume for camp and I think every year it has gotten better and better.  Some would say that bus ride is a long 9 hours there but I look at it as a rad time to connect with students who I normally don't get to see.  After leaving Vegas and arriving to some temperature much less than 110 degrees I love to make, or encourage, all our guys to take a quick swim in the lake right when we get there. 

(The soon to be senior boys)
Then during the week we compete in some pretty crazy recreation games that help break down the "I'm too cool wall" that some students put up (I never did that in high school).  Hume breaks the entire camp into 2 huge teams each having 14 sub-teams; let the competition begin!  During the week your team can earn points for: cleaning your cabin, competition, spirit, memorizing Bible verses, and other things.  The whole thing is to use healthy competition to break down walls and it works! 

(What were we thinking)
Some free time activities we like to do are: play ultimate frisbee, you can rent a boat and go out on the lake (no gas motors allowed), there is a High Adventure course, a sick paintball course and much more.  Every year we let the students know that we will be playing paintball in tank top shirts and shorts.  I know it sounds totally stupid but I am in shock at how many love it!  We get out there; have some fun and get crazy on the field.  The welt stores are great (I still have a scar on my neck from three years ago) and this year my first hit was on the top of my head. 

(The entire crew)
The week was a huge success and we had multiple students make a first time choice for Christ.  I was so excited at how many leaders came up to me and said something like: "I forgot to tell you, but when I was doing my one-on-one with ___________ he/she gave their life to Christ for the first time."  I was so pumped to see all the hard work we have put into sowing the seeds for Christ reap a reward! 

The leaders this year were amazing (not that they haven't been) but this year we took 6 leaders who were previous students of ours.  I have to just end this with a huge thank you to everyone who prayed for students, prayed for me, helped with transportation, gave us a contact to make camp less expensive, shopped the garage sale, played in the golf tournament, worked anything we did to raise money and just encouraged our team while we did camp this year.  Thank you for loving God and liking students!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Great Pastor

I work with a great pastor on the team here at South Hills.  I know there is a difference between good pastors and great pastors; so I want to make that distinction upfront that I am aware of the language of I am using in this post. 

I didn't always think he was a great pastor and I'm sure he had similar feelings for me but in the last six months I have come to realize that I work with a great pastor.  He is talented.  He is passionate about what he does.  He is willing to take risks.  He steps out in faith because he wants to see God work.  He is a learner; and leaders are learners.  He cares about the teams that he works with.  He encourages our church to be a better place.  And most of all I think he has the hardest job here on staff; he works with middle school students.

This last week Chase Feindel was down in San Deigo at Hume SD and I heard some great things about the ministry that he was doing down there with the team of leaders he brought and the students that he ministers to.

While Chase was gone I had a youth pastor buddy there tell me something to effect of:
"You have a great team here"

Another friend at the camp texted me and said:
"Chase is a really good youth pastor"

To which I joking replied:
"Did he steal your phone and say that?"

As much as I love to joke around with Chase I have to let the rest of the world know that he is not just a good youth pastor but, in my mind, he is a great youth pastor!  Chase I am honored to work with you and see the growth that God has done in your life in the last almost 4 years we have been working together.

Thank you for loving Jesus, loving your wife, caring about the local church and all you do here!  Thanks too for being uncle Chase to my daughter.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sophies First Tattoo

Last night we went out to dinner for Charity's birthday.  We went to Kings Fish House, I won't share the story on the way, but once we got there it was amazing.  Well in the kids book they have tattoo's so Sophie got her first tattoo:

(Sophie's first tattoo)

Its a pirate on her left forearm; she likes to tell me how I put it on.  Its starting to wipe off today, but she loves it and I love seeing her smile!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Swim Lessons

Another quick video from swim lessons

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sophie's ABC's

Sophie has been practicing her ABC's and tonight, while eating cherries, we decided to give them a shot on camera!

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Journey

For about the last month God has been teaching me a tough lesson; The Journey.

See I was hiking at Mount Charleston the other day (when I say the other day I mean 6 weeks ago) and on the drive up I planned to do the 2 mile hike to Cathedral Rock.  When I got to the parking lot for the hike I noticed on the board a hike that would take me to the top of the mountain.  I had the food and water to make the hike so I diverted the plan, texted Charity and took off on a new adventure.  As I began this new adventure I quickly realized that I was not the 16 year, agile, studly young man I once was.  Another thing I noticed was a good deal of snow on the ground; but I kept on trucking. 

The entire hike I was talking to God.  Sometime into this new adventure I specifically heard (not audibly) that I need to turn around; so I did.  I went back to "plan A" and let Charity know.  As I was going back the same way I went there were feelings of remorse; you know when you had a great idea and it just never happened?  That is how I was feeling.  Feelings of failure crossed my mind and thoughts of wondering and question crossed my mind. 

(You can faintly see the deer)
As I was nearing the original trial I spotted a cool bench carved out of a huge tree that had fallen and decided to sit down on it.  When I sat down I quickly noticed a pack of bears in the distance; ok just kidding but I did see two deer.   As I was sitting on the bench I felt God speaking something to my heart that was difficult to hear.  He was saying something to me that sounded like this "Its not about the destination while you are here, but its about the journey."  See the goal of that day was to head to the mountain and spend time with God but how quickly it turned into Neal talking to God.

Since this day there has been many conversations that God and I have had about this topic.  On the drive to Redding for summer school I really felt God speaking to me about the journey while I was driving; about 30 minutes later I got a speeding ticket.  God wanted me to slow down but I wasn't willing to listen; I constantly want to force my plan and I am constantly being reminded that I need to slow down and enjoy the journey. 

If I can't enjoy the journey will I ever enjoy the destination?